Sheriff Clinton Explains Child Passenger Safety Laws

Sheriff's Desk
Sheriff Chris Clinton Towns County GA

From the Desk of Sheriff Chris Clinton:

Child passenger safety is an important topic. No one wants their child to be injured in a motor vehicle accident. Not only will improper precautions place a child in harm, but drivers can receive a citation for failing to follow state laws regarding child passenger safety. The following information is a paraphrase of the requirements of the law in Georgia.

Children under age eight are required to be in a child safety seat or booster seat. The seat or booster must be appropriate for the child’s height and weight and must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Generally, children under eight must ride in a back seat, but there are a few exceptions to that requirement.

If a vehicle has no rear seating or all the rear seats are already occupied by other children, a child under eight may ride in the front seat. Still, any child riding in a front seat must be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat appropriate for their height and weight. Drivers should be aware of the potential of the child receiving serious injury should an airbag deployment occur while a child is riding in the front seat.

When using a booster seat, a lap/shoulder belt is required, but again, there is an exception. A child over 40 pounds may use only a lap belt if the vehicle does not have shoulder belts or if positions that have lap/shoulder belts are being used to restrain other children. If there are only lap belts in the rear seat, a child may ride in the front seat. Again, any child riding in the front seat must be restrained in a safety seat that is appropriate for their height and weight. The seat must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. There remains the potential for serious injury from an airbag deployment that should be understood and considered.

A child over 4’9″ in height may be restrained in a safety belt instead of a booster seat. A child under eight can be exempt for physical or medical reasons only if the parent or guardian has a written statement from a physician that a physical or medical condition prevents using a child safety seat or safety restraint system.

As always, it is our desire to help you and your loved ones remain safe. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call on your Sheriff’s Office at 706-896-4444. We are always honored to assist you in keeping yourself and your family safe.


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